SAA takeover clears a further hurdle

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Only one obstacle remains for the purchase of 51% of South African Airways (SAA) by the Takatso Consortium, which is for the government to finalise the regulatory framework so R3 billion can be injected into the ailing airline.

The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) welcomed the decision by the Competition Tribunal announced today to approve the acquisition of the major shareholding in SAA by Takatso.

In February 2022, the DPE and Takatso signed a purchase agreement which came under scrutiny.

The Tribunal ruled that the minority shareholders in Takatso had to go.

The minority shareholders agreed to sell their shares to comply with the Competition Commission’s condition that they exit the strategic equity partnership for the deal to go through.

If the merger went ahead with Global Aviation, the operator of the low-cost airline LIFT, and Syranix, which co-owns the LIFT trademark, as the minority shareholders of Takatso, the Tribunal felt that the consortium would have access to sensitive information regarding SAA by virtue of its majority stake in the national carrier.

This could compromise healthy competition.

The Tribunal this time accepted that Global Aviation and Syranix would indeed sever ties with the consortium and approved the transaction with further conditions, including that the airline retrenches no staff.

Gidon Novick, from the minority shareholders and co-founder of LIFT Airline, said they’re looking for investors to buy them out.

“From what I understand, anyone can buy. We have appointed advisers to help us with that.”

The DPE said the R3 billion injection by Takatso would help SAA to expand its routes and fleet.

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